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Saturday, March 8, 2008
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

If Ms. Clinton is both resignedly sweet and explosively sour, we need to ask hard, harsh questions.

Can America risk having a president with mood swings with her finger on the nuclear button?

-- Lowell Ponte, Feb. 26 Newsmax column

Like him or loathe him, you get the feeling that you could enjoy having a beer with Bill Clinton, you don't get that feeling that you could enjoy anything with Hillary Clinton — except maybe anesthesia.

-- Brent Bozell, as quoted by Phil Brennan, Feb. 26 Newsmax column

Underneath the veneer of the practiced smile and the strategically used giggle, there is a rage that is always close to the surface. It was on display in the debate.

Hillary Clinton is furious that America has not agreed to her coronation. She doesn’t understand why voters are rejecting her and embracing Barack Obama. She just doesn’t get it.

-- Dick Morris, Feb. 29 Newsmax column

So the questions for Ohioans who vote Tuesday for Clinton will be a choice of three alternatives:

Did you vote for Ms. Clinton because you hate capitalism and international trade?

Did you vote for her because you are a racist who would not vote for any black candidate for president?

Or did you vote for Hillary Clinton simply because you are stupid and gullible enough to believe anti-NAFTA words and promises from the former ruling family that created NAFTA?

Note that an affirmative answer to any one of these three questions gives intelligent business people good reason never to invest another penny in Ohio.

-- Lowell Ponte, March 3 Newsmax column


Posted by Terry K. at 11:28 AM EST
Friday, March 7, 2008
CNS Ignores Facts Behind California EPA Controversy
Topic: CNSNews.com

A March 7 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal reported on legislation introduced by "House Democrats" (even though she notes later that one Republican is a co-sponsor) that would "overturn a Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decison barring California from setting its own emissions standards for automobiles." While Bansal quotes Rep. Brad Sherman stating that "California has applied for a waiver (to the Clean Air Act) 54 times  -- 53 have been granted," and she quotes representatives of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers essentially arguing that emissions standards are low enough, Bansal does not mention the core of the controversy.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, in denying California's request, ignored its own staff's recommendation that it be granted, adding that if the waiver was denied, EPA would very likely lose in court to the state:

But if Johnson granted California the waiver and the auto industry sued, "EPA is almost certain to win," said two sources quoting the briefing document. They advised him to either grant the waiver outright or give California a temporary one for three years.

Instead, three sources said, Johnson cut off any consultation with his technical staff for the last month and made his decision before having them write the formal, legal justification for it.

The LA Times article also quoted the same AAM rep Bansal talked to, but on an issue Bansal didn't ask him about:

Charles Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in Washington, said there was "absolutely not" any linkage between his trade group's decision to support the final version of the Senate energy bill and the EPA's decision to deny California's request for a waiver. Territo said the industry has always stressed a national mileage standard and opposed the California petition.

Bansal never explicitly states that the AAM opposed the California petition.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:04 PM EST
Armitage-O-Philia Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

If Richard Armitage didn't exist, NewsBusters would have had to invent him -- he serves as such a valuable touchstone of misleading claims for it.

In a March 6 NewsBusters post, Richard Newcomb attacked an article in the Israeli paper Haaretz for coming to the defense of "anti-American" New York Times reporters who committed the offense of, in Newcomb's words, "deciding what information is and is not legal to leak and print- never mind that we elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives to do this." Times reporter james Risen, Newcomb wrote, "exposed classified data with the aid of hidden law-breakers in the government," in this case an alleged "CIA-Mossad operation to destabilize Iran," thus "aiding America's enemies and assisting said enemies to kill American citizens." Newcomb stated regarding the Haaretz article:

Haaretz goes on to bring up the infamous Valerie Plame hoax to support their argument that the Bush Administratioj is 'waging war on journalists', repeating the false claim that Vice-President Richard Cheney's then chief of staff, L. Lewis Libby leaked Plame's name. As a matter of fact, it was State Department hack Richard Armitage who actually first mentioned Plame's name, though I am not sure how much leaking was involved concerning someone who was listed as a CIA employee in Who's Who!

As we have repeatedly noted every time a NewsBusters writer makes this claim, Armitage was not the only person to leak Plame's name; his leakee, Robert Novak, was merely the first to publish it. Scooter Libby did, in fact, leak Valerie Plame's name, as well as Karl Rove (with whom Novak confirmed Plame's identity).

Further, Plame was not "listed as a CIA employee in Who's Who!" as Newcomb claims; she was listed only as the wife of Joe Wilson with no mention of job title.

Newcomb also personally attacks Risen, baselessly asserting: "Risen strikes me as a person who would rather see Muslim fanatics running the United States than an elected Republican President."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 9, 2008 10:33 AM EST
WND Condones Bad Homeschooling, Abusive Parenting
Topic: WorldNetDaily

(Updated)

Another WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on the case of California homeschooling parent Phillip Long, another effort to whitewash the behavior of the parents, and another failure to mention important issues in the case.

Why are Unruh and WND doing this? They're too close to the issue to tell the truth. Unruh and WND editor Joseph Farah have their children homeschooled, and they apparently don't want to admit -- or let anyone else know -- that there are bad apples in homeschooling.

But don't Unruh and Farah realize that by refusing to tell the truth to WND readers, they may actually end up harming homeschooling in the long run?

Unruh and WND have never mentioned the fact that, as court documents have detailed (as have we), the Long family was providing a substandard homeschool education to their children:

  • The court described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best.
  • One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, [she] stated she cannot."

WND has also not reported the history of the father. From court documents:

  • "Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father."
  • "[F]ather dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home. ... He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates."
  • The court found the parents' home to be in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night." 

There are good homeschoolers -- and there are also bad homeschoolers. The court has found Phillip Long and his wife to be bad homeschoolers and the father to be an abusive parent. WND's failure to tell the truth about the Longs to its readers leads to the inescapable conclusion that it condones such behavior.

Do Unruh and Farah treat their homeschooled children the way Phillip Long is on record as treating his? We hope not. We hope they don't think that such behavior is acceptable. But by staying silent about it, Unruh and Farah leave the impression that they do.

Shielding the Longs' dysfunctional family from public scrutiny in the name of protecting homeschooling, as Unruh and WND have done, will damage homeschooling in the long run because it contributes to an image of homeschooling being the province of extremist wackos.

We can't imagine anyone who truly cares about education and homeschooling would subject their children to the substandard education the Longs are on record as providing to their children. So why won't anyone within the homeschooling community admit that bad education is bad education, even (and, perhaps, especially) when it happens at home?

Through his biased reporting, Unruh is aiding and abetting the further abuse of the Long children by their parents. Is that what he and WND really want to happen to this family -- or any family? 

WND needs to decide: Will it shield and whitewash abusive parents so that they may further harm their children, or will it act as "fearless" as it claims to be and tell the truth? 

UPDATE: We see that Michelle Malkin has latched onto this issue as well. But, like WND, Malkin fails to note the father's abuse or the "lousy" home education the children have received. You'd think that, with her demonstrated eagerness to attack 12-year-olds, Malkin would be rushing to tell the full story of the Long family. Apparently not.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 AM EST
Updated: Friday, March 7, 2008 1:20 PM EST
Ellis Washington Puts Klan Smears in Socrates' Mouth
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily columnist Ellis Washington made misleading claims about the long-ago ties of some Democrats to the Ku Klux Klan. In his March 6 column, Washington takes things several steps farther: he calls a black man a Klansman.

No, seriously. He repeatedly refers to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as "Kwame 'Klan' Kilpatrick." The column is presented as a bizarre dialectic between Kilpatrick, Socrates, and a Klan Grand Dragon. At one point, Washington has the "Grand Dragon" say:

At our height of power in 1925, the KKK had over 4 million members. We proudly marched 40,000 strong down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, yet our demonic hatred of blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants have no comparison with the pathology, despair, ignorance and black-on-black crime affecting the state of black America today – terrorist tactics done by their own people in complicity with big-city black mayors, the public schools, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democrat Party ... yet, the KKK is called a racist organization?!

To which "Socrates" responds:

Are black people better off under the openly racist regime of Gov. George Wallace, police Chief Bull Connor and the Grand Dragon of the KKK, or are black people better off under the incompetent, arrogant and pathological black leadership of a Kwame "Klan" Kilpatrick? – KKK or KKK? It is a paradox that may not be able to be answered in this generation; however, posing this question offers the seeds of hope for a new generation of leadership that refuses to be defined by skin color, but will only be judged by the content of their character.

Until that apotheosis occurs there is only a negligible difference between the tyranny of the Ku Klux Klan of 1868-1968 and the tyranny of Kwame "Klan" Kilpatrick in 2008.

Would Socrates really resort to tossing out incendiary ad hominem attacks as Washington portrays him doing? We think not.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EST
Thursday, March 6, 2008
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 5 appearance by the Media Research Center's Tim Graham on Fox News' "Your World" follows the template: Graham appears solo, neither he nor the MRC are identified as conservative, and guest host Brenda Buttner reinforces Graham's talking points: "I mean, the mainstream media is pretty liberal. Obama is pretty liberal. Do you really expect them to really take him -- to really grill him from the very start?"

Any chance we can expect Fox News to bring on a representative of our employer to join Graham on his next appearance on the channel for something approaching a "fair and balanced" discussion (though even then it would still be two against one)? Don't count on it.

UPDATE: The Business and Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business on March 6. The video clip supplied via NewsBusters is edited down to footage of only Gainor, but we can surmise that the template was followed here as well. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2008 10:47 PM EST
Unruh Still Whitewashing Homeschooling Family
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh continues his dishonest coverage of the case of a California homeschooling family whose children have been ordered to attend a real school.

As he has before, Unruh focuses on the purported threat to homeschooling made by the ruling against Phillip Long while ignoring one key issue in the case: the quality of the homeschooling provided and the circumstances in which they have been provided.

As we've detailed, court documents have described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best. One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, Rachel stated she cannot."

Court documents have also noted that the "Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father," adding: "father dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home. ... He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates." The court further found the parents' home to be in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night."

Does Unruh and WND really want to be on record as defending a family that behaves in such a manner? Do Unruh and WND endorse such a poor quality "education"? Or do homeschooling parents Unruh and Joseph Farah treat their family the way Long has been documented as treating his?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2008 9:40 AM EST
Kessler Dodges Hagee Issue
Topic: Newsmax

A March 5 Newsmax column by Ronald Kessler begins:

It’s one thing for Barack Obama to have a minister, friend, and sounding board who supports and admires Louis Farrakhan and whose church gave him an award.

It’s another thing for Obama to dissemble about it.

Kessler then adds:

If John McCain’s minister, friend, and sounding board gave an award to white nationalist David Duke, would Obama have said the gesture showed “insensitivity” to blacks, or would he have issued a searing condemnation expressing outrage?

Nowhere does Kessler mention that McCain has been endorsed -- with McCain appearing on stage accepting the nomination -- by John Hagee, an evangelist who has made numerous derogatory remarks about Catholics, gays and women that would seem to call out to be denounced -- by both McCain and Kessler -- in the same manner that Obama has denounced Farrakhan.

Shouldn't Kessler hold McCain to the same standard he holds Obama?

Kessler falsely suggested that the only statements Obama has made on the issue of Farrakhan was one in which Obama said the decision by a magazine published by the church he attends to honor Farrakhan was "is not a decision with which I agree" and that it "showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community." But Obama has also said that he has been a "consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan, nobody challenges that."

By focusing on the guilt-by-association link of Obama through his pastor, Kessler ignores Obama's clear denunciation of Farrakhan -- which McCain has never done with Hagee.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EST
New Article: The Dishonesty Card
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center and FrontPageMag bash a report on the Bush administration's false statements about war with Iraq by ignoring the evidence and attacking the messenger. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EST
MRC Upset That Newsworthy Event Got More Coverage Than Less Newsworthy Event
Topic: NewsBusters

From a March 5 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock:

Despite the fact that John McCain officially clinched the GOP nomination on Tuesday, the three network morning shows on Wednesday devoted almost a full hour of air time to covering the Democratic presidential race and barely nine minutes for the Republicans. Additionally, the Arizona senator did not appear on NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" or the CBS "Early Show." Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, however, showed up on all three programs.

The network morning shows featured the Democratic presidential candidates for a grand total of 59 minutes and 12 seconds. McCain and his remaining rival, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, received a mere nine minutes and ten seconds of coverage. Now, obviously, the Democratic race is a close, hard fought contest. So, it's natural that it would receive more attention. However, McCain's very act of winning the nomination should be a well covered event, especially considering the candidate's remarkable rise from the political dead. The networks, apparently, saw it a different way.

Hasn't it been all but clear for weeks that McCain would be the Republican nominee? Accordingly, "McCain's very act of winning the nomination" is an anticlimax, and "the candidate's remarkable rise from the political dead" was covered weeks ago.

Curiously, McCain's endorsement by anti-Catholic evangelist John Hagee continues to get even less coverage from the MRC than the networks' coverage of McCain's 'very act of winning the nomination." Why is that? 

UPDATE: Whitlock's post also appears in the March 6 MRC CyberAlert.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2008 2:55 PM EST
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Unruh Tells More About Homeschooling Case, But Still Misleads
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Gee, that was quick.

Six hours after we published what WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh wouldn't regarding a California family whose homeschooled students were ordered into a real school by a court, Unruh apparently went into panic mode and penned an article that includes more details of the story. But he still tries to spin the issue and whitewash the family.  

Unruh asserts that the ruling "is alarming because of the way the court opted to order those results." But the ruling is merely following the rule of law, that "enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor children," with certain exceptions, none of which the family met in the eyes of the court. We thought conservatives like Unruh favored the rule of law.

Unruh makes a big deal of noting:

Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."

But Unruh did not note what preceded that noation in the ruling: a statement that a previous court found "that the home schooling the children were receiving was 'lousy,' 'meager,' and 'bad.'"

Unruh then delves into details of what he called "unpublished court documents" in "a dependency case stemming from accusations of abuse that resulted from the parents' decision to impose discipline on their children with spankings."

First, the documents in the case have been published, at the AMPS blog, as has the appeals court ruling Unruh writes about. But even though those documents are publcly available, Unruh does not provide a link to them.

Second, while Unruh notes that the "unpublished" documents note "allegations that a family acquaintance molested one of the children as well as claims regarding physical punishment relating to one child's decision to disobey household rules about being out at night," which he declared were "disputed by different people involved," he fails to mention numerous other allegations of physical punishment and emotional abuse by the father detailed in the court documents; indeed, the court stated that "Father has a long history of  physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father." Further, the documents state:

[T]he record contains substantial evidence, both from statements made by the children and from mother's own actions, that  father dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home, two of whom have repeatedly run away from home because, in  part, of the home rules father imposes. There is also substantial evidence that he has been difficult to work with in dependency  matters--evasive, uncooperative, and belligerent. There is evidence that these character traits of father's have been consistent over the  years that this family has been in dependency court. He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to  receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates. There is  evidence that mother does not interfere with his discipline of the children and his rules. There is evidence she does not make even  tentative decisions in dependency matters but rather defers issues until father can make decisions on them. Several of the children gave answers  [*75] to the social worker, forensic evaluator, and the court that have all the appearance of reflecting what the children were told to say or believed father would want them to say or not say. 

Additionally, Unruh fails to address one key issue: the atmosphere and quality of the homeschool education.

Unruh also writes that previous court rulings in the case had "affirmed the parents' right to homeschool their children." But Unruh ignores one statement in the dependency court documents, that "The court indicated it believed the parents have the legal right to home school their children assuming the home schooling education is appropriate" [emphasis ours]. Just as Unruh failed to note the court's statement that the education the children received was "lousy," "meager," and "bad," he ignores the description of said education as provided by one of the children:

Asked how much time she spent each day on being school at the parents' home, she stated "sometimes two hours. [*27] Sometimes half an hour. It depended on what homework it was." Only mother taught her, not father. She was provided with books. The books had reviews in them but not tests. Mother helped her with assignments if she  needed help. She could not recall mother being unable to help her. She would also ask [her sister] Charity but Charity "doesn't know it so she wasn't much help." Her subjects were citizenship, math, English and science. Once a year she took a test to see if she could pass to  another grade. The last test she took was at a church. The test was administered by Sunland Christian School and was a "test for that school." She passed the test but she did not remember her marks. During her schooling at home, her best subject was science and her worst was math. She was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, Rachel stated she cannot. 

Is this the kind of "education" Unruh and WND really want to be defending?

Unruh noted the claim by the father, Phillip Long, that "the youngest children most recently had been working under an independent study program with Sunland Christian Academy," then added, "The court ruling, however, revealed a judicial dislike of that school, since the judges specifically ordered the children would not be allowed to participate in its programs." Unruh fails to mention that Sunland's supervision of the children's education was minimal, since the school's administrator admitted that "he makes visits to the parents' home about four times a year."

Unruh repeats the father's claim that "he objects to the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California's public schools," even though the court noted that the father has offered varying reasons for keeping his children out of school, including that they "do not believe in the policies of the public school system," "religious beliefs," and because "educating children outside the home exposes them to 'snitches.'"

And, apparently because he can't help himself, Unruh unloads the Nazi smear once again, claiming the ruling has "echoes of similar ideas expressed by officials from Germany, where homeschooling has been outlawed since 1938 under a law adopted when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted the state, and no one else, to control the minds of the nation's youth." 

While Unruh does slightly better this time around, he still offers a biased, whitewashed view of the issue. Will he ever tell the full truth about this case? Don't count on it -- WND is too much of a homeschool cheerleader to ever tell its downside.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 PM EST
Unruh Loves Logical Fallacies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

First it was the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy. Now WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh embraces another logical fallacy: that whatever is not prohibited is mandatory.

A March 4 article by Unruh about a proposed bill, SB 1322, that would overturn laws that ban communist groups from using school property, permit school employees to be fired if "he or she is a knowing member of the Communist Party," and ban public schools from "teaching communism with the intent to indoctrinate or to inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism" runs the law through his biased funhouse mirror, claiming that the law would all but demand that schools "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, and let teachers in public district classrooms 'inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism.' " Unruh, as is his usual reporting M.O., quotes only opponents of the law, who insist the bill is "indoctrination" and that "The socialist members of the legislature are now advocating that communism, one of the most brutal forms of government in history, be taught favorably to government school students. ... California lawmakers are eager to once again begin advancing a political ideology responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people."

And just to depict his full deliberate ignorance of facts, Unruh repeated his funhouse-mirror depiction of another California law protecting gay students, insisting that it mandates that "public schools in the state teach nothing but positive messages about homosexuality, transsexuality, bisexuality and other alternative lifestyles."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EST
Corsi, Sheppard Mislead on Biased Climate Confrence
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 4 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi touts the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, which he described as featuring "more than 100 internationally prominent environmental scientists" who presented "papers" claiming that "[g]lobal warming is a natural process, not likely the result of human activities."

Nowhere does Corsi mention that it's essentially a PR stunt. As RealClimate.org reported, the Heartland Insititute, which is sponsoring the conference, is paying $1,000 to anyone willing to give a talk, which is contrary to what real scientific conferences do (no honorarium, travel expenses paid on occasion). Also, according to RealClimate.org, financial sponsors of the conferences are "input into the program regarding speakers and panel topics," also highly divergent from the scientific way of doing things.

As RealClimate notes: "Normal scientific conferences have the goal of discussing ideas and data in order to advance scientific understanding. Not this one. ... So this conference is not aimed at understanding, it is a PR event aimed at generating media reports."

Needless to say, global warming denier Noel Sheppard is similarly ignoring all of this. In two posts March 4 onNewsBusters touting the conference, Sheppard is curiously silent about its bought-and-paid-for aspect. One post calls the conference represents "well-renowned scientists from all over the world are meeting to discuss anthropogenic global warming" without mentioning that only one side of the issue is, in fact, being discussed.

UPDATE: CNSNews.com has two articles by Kevin Mooney on the confrence, neither of which acknowledge the confrence's bias or mention the bought-and-paid-for aspect (though in one, he does quote Marc Morano and discloses that "Morano is a former investigative reporter for Cybercast News Service").


Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 5, 2008 2:42 PM EST
MRC Likens Obama to 'Duke' Cunningham
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 3 MRC "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham creates its own reality by likening Barack Obama's connection to on-trial businessman Tony Rezko to notoriously corrupt congressman 'Duke' Cunningham's cronyism with lobbyists:

Jury selection began today in Chicago in the trial of Syrian-born businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a major supporter of Barack Obama. Two days before the 2006 elections in which Democrats won by running against a “culture of corruption,” Chicago newspapers revealed that Obama purchased a home that summer for $1.6 million, but only because Rezko’s wife bought an adjoining parcel for $625,000 to complete the deal. Rezko was already under federal investigation for kickback schemes.

To a political opponent, this might resemble a lobbyist’s sweetheart deal like the one that started Rep. Duke Cunningham’s political decline, where a lobbyist paid $700,000 more for Cunningham’s home than his own sale price months later.

A "political opponent" like, say, Graham?

But the Obama-Rezko house controversy is nothing like Cunningham's hidden house kickback. Obama made no profit and, indeed, paid what is considered a fair market rate for his house. None of the charges on which Rezko faces trial involve Obama. And, as TPM Muckraker points out, "no substantial evidence has surfaced" to support the claim that "Obama ever did anything for Rezko in return for his purchase of the side yard or all those contributions" to Obama's political campaigns. That contradicts Graham's snarky aside: "How many lunches would a lobbyist have to buy to equal Rezko’s $625,000 parcel purchase?"

Graham claimed that Obama was able to buy the house "only because Rezko’s wife bought an adjoining parcel for $625,000 to complete the deal." But that's not necessarily true; as TPM Muckraker notes:

The main suspicion has been that Rezko's purchase of the side yard at the seller's asking price allowed Obama's purchase of the house to go through since the seller insisted on closing both properties on the same day. But both Obama and Rezko have said that someone else had bid on the side yard, raising the bidding to the asking price. If that's the case, then Obama could have bought the house without Rezko's involvement. And Obama has said that his family has stayed off the side yard and never used it for family activities.

While TPM Muckraker notes that there are unanswered questions about the purchase of the house and lot, Graham has simply assumed the worst interpretation for Obama without detailing the actual facts involved.

Graham also curiously fails to note that Cunningham is a Republican. We can't imagine why... 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Rest of the Homeschooling Story, Ignored By WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh played the Nazi card in likening a California ruling ordering a family's homeschooled children to attend regular school to "officials from Germany, where homeschooling has been outlawed since 1938 under a law adopted when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted the state, and no one else, to control the minds of the nation's youth." We also presumed that Unruh wasn't telling the full story about this case because, well, that's what Unruh does.

Indeed, we were right. The AMPS blog has uncovered what appears to be the complete court ruling about this case and a related case involving the family, and it includes numerous details about the case that Unruh failed to report, presumably because they interfered with his effort to portray homeschoolers as the noble victims of Nazi-like oppression.

Unruh had written:

The judges ruled in the case involving the Longs the family failed to demonstrate "that mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor," and that their involvement and supervision by Sunland Christian School's independent study programs was of no value.

Nor did the family's religious beliefs matter to the court.

But according to the court ruling, the parents claimed that Sunland Christian School was a "charter school" without any evidence that it was, as defined by state law. The ruling also pointed out that the parents were depriving their children "of an education in a public or private full-time day school setting, or by a credentialed tutor, through the ruse of enrolling them in a private school and then letting them stay home and be taught by a non-credentialed parent."

Further, Sunland's "involvement and supervision" appears to have been minimal at best; the school's administrator said "he makes visits to the parents' home about four times a year," and "the children in the family reported to the Department of Children and Family Services social worker that they were given tests at the end of some school years and they took the tests at the Sunland Christian School." Such minimal supervision by Sunland arguably does render it as having "no value."

While Unruh stated that the family has homeschooled their children "because of various anti-Christian influences in California's public schools" -- he later adds the father's assertion that "he won't allow the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California's public schools, on which WND previously has reported, to indoctrinate his children" -- the court ruling states:

Over the years, the parents of the children have given various reasons for not sending the children to school. Although previously they have stated they do not believe in the policies of the public school system, more recently they have asserted that they home school because of their religious beliefs. The father also recently opined that educating children outside the home exposes them to "snitches."

The ruling concludes: "Given this history of this family, which we need not discuss here, permitting the parents to educate the children at home by means of a credentialed tutor would likely post too many difficulties for the tutor." What is that history? The related ruling supplied by AMPS, involving the California DCFS' case against the family, details:

The family’s third contact with the juvenile court came when a petition was filed in November 1993 for the same five children plus minor Rachel. According to a Department report in the instant case and a Department report in a 2001 matter involving this family, the six minors were found to be persons coming within the provisions of section 300 on the basis of the following sustained allegations: the parents’ home was dangerous to the minors in that it included, but was not limited to, approximately 60 guns, rifles and/or assault weapons; black powder in an unsecured location; and live ammunition, shells, and magazines, all of which was within access of the minors, and the guns and ammunition were in close proximity to each other. Further, the minors’ home was found to be in [*9] an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night. Additionally, the parents unlawfully concealed the whereabouts of the children from the Department and father willfully gave false information to the court concerning the whereabouts of the children. Eventually all of the minors were released to mother’s care.

[...]

The fifth and current involvement of the Department with this [*10] family came as the result of minor Rachel’s contact with the Los Angeles Police Department, Wilshire Division, on January 26, 2006, when she asked to be picked up because she was tired, hungry and had no place to live. She was fourteen years old at the time. She had run away from the family home on October 29, 2005. Rachel told the Department social worker that she was tired of living under father’s house rules. She stated father would hit her with a stick, hanger or shoe if she did not follow his rules. She said he will not let her wear pants at home and she had to wear skirts or dresses, not let her wear makeup, and not let her attend public school. Rachel also reported that Leonard C. repeatedly molested her when she was between the ages of four and nine. He repeatedly groped her and would come into her room when she was in bed and put his finger into her vagina. She said she told the parents about it when she was 12 years old but they did not believe her. She stated the man still comes to the house occasionally and she worries that he might begin molesting her sister Mary Grace. She stated she engages in selfmutilation (cutting herself with a razor blade) and has problems with [*11] depression, but her parents will not send her to therapy because father tells her that speaking with him is all the therapy she needs. She stated she would never be all right with father now because she has been sexually active. She stated she would continue to run away if she is forced to live at home. The social worker reported that Rachel’s situation was similar to her sister Elizabeth’s, who also ran away, wanted to attend public school, objected to father’s house rules, was removed from the home for physical and emotional abuse, and complained that father dominates everyone in the house, including mother.

[...]

In the meantime, on January 27, 2006, a visit to the parents' two-bedroom home in Lynwood revealed it was very cramped with the family's belongings, the hallway had a dresser and plastic boxes piled almost to the ceiling and they partially blocked the door to the children's bedroom, which had no door on it. The yard was laded with junk that presented a fire hazard and breeding ground for vermin.

[...]

By the [29*] time of the May 18, 2006, adjudication hearing, Rachel was living with her sister Elizabeth. The Department was having difficulty securing a clothing allowance for Rachel because a birth certificate for her was needed but the parents continued to assert there was no birth certificate. Because the parents were not willing to sign an affadavit stating where and when Rachel was born, the Department indicated Rachel would be required to have a bone test done to determine her age, and for that, a medical or court order was necessary.

[...]

Rachel stated she is attending public school and likes it. She stated she does not have the same knowledge that the other students in her class have and she is working to catch up to them. Asked how much time she spent each day on being school at the parents' home, she stated "sometimes two hours. [*27] Sometimes half an hour. It depended on what homework it was."

These are the people Unruh is painting as victims of state oppression -- whitewashing their real background in the process.

If Unruh was turning in slanted, incomplete copy when he worked for the Associated Press, as he does for WorldNetDaily, no wonder he doesn't work there anymore.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:05 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 5, 2008 12:13 PM EST

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